3rd March 2012 

Matt Skelton
In an interesting heavyweight tussle tonight former British, European and WBA world title challenger Bedfords Matt Skelton will meet kent’s Tom Dallas over 8 rounds on the undercard of Jamie McDonnell vs Ivan Pozo at the at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield tonight (Saturday) March 3.   

Skelton (25-6, 20 KOs) hasn’t fought since a defeat to Michael Sprott in the Prizefighter heavyweight final in October 2010 but the naturally fit former K1 champion has continued to train throughout that time, something he believes will be key to any potential ring rust. 

This must surely though be his last chance to get back on the boxing ladder. One more slip on a rung and big Matt, now 45, will not want to hang around as cannon fodder in a young mans game. But victory for the elder statesman of tough rugged British heavyweights, believes victory will lead to him becoming a serious British heavyweight once more. 

“Fortunately I’ve been ticking over.” said Skelton. 

“I was in the gym to fight last year but nothing came about. Then obviously this Tom Dallas fight has come up. Fortunately for me, though I’ve had over a year out, I’ve always been in the gym. 

“Time out of the ring… You can spar, and you can have tough sparring – it may emulate the fighting but it doesn’t emulate the whole experience of the night. 

“At one stage it was commonplace I was out in front of crowds [and] fighting. No matter what you say I’m going to have my critics, which everybody does, but probably more so me because of my age. There are always going to be negatives but the people around me are positive. 

“Inevitably there will be a little bit [of ring rust], but I’ve put in the sparring and a lot of work so I’m hoping it doesn’t show too much. 

“I’ve got my own gym in Bedford, sparring partners. I’m in there everyday. We’ve got a competition-size ring so I’m getting used to it. 

“Inevitably I’m going to be a little bit rusty but hopefully in the first bit of the fight that will all have gone out of the window. 

“I don’t see the point in fighting people I believe aren’t going to give me credibility for getting back in there. 

“I believe Tom Dallas will. I want to fight people that can get me back up there.” added Skelton 

Skelton v Dallas will pose questions for both fighters and is a fight that is hard to call. Skelton is the much more seasoned of the pair, with vast more experience.
Tom Dallas
Dallas, 26, (15-1, 11 KOs) meanwhile is coming off a devistating defeat to David Price, in June last year. The 26 year old was knocked out in round 2 by the unbeaten Liverpool prospect and this fight with Skelton is a real crossroads encounter, in a career that can go one way or another at this stage. 

A win for Dallas, would erase the torment of his loss to Price, while spareing him journeyman status. It would also go some way more to proving how good David Price is, but thats another issue for now! 

Nine months out of the ring since defeat to Price, have seen the The 6ft 6in Chatham fighter gain almost a stone in weight, tipping the scales at just over 17 stone. 

Dallas is determined to return to the ring and prove that his loss to Price was because of lack of preperation, he took the British title eliminator fight at less than a weeks notice and now wants to erase that experience and get right back up in the rankings. 

“I’ve been busy in the gym since November. said Dallas. 

“I’ve been trying to put on a bit of weight and I was doing six days a week on the weights. 

“I feel good and comfortable with the weight and it should mean I am now more powerful 

“I am feeling fit and stronger than ever. For me this will be the biggest fight I’ve had. I know I fought Price but I didn’t have time to prepare for that one, so personally I feel this is the big one for me. If I get a win I’ll be right back up there.”

Prediction:

Hard one to pick, but with youth on his side and the fact that the fight is over just 8 rounds, at a push I’d pick Dallas to use his reach and keep big Matt at a long enough range, to stop his big shots landing. Skelton will try to get inside and rough up the taller Dallas and this could be his key to victory, and I sense the uppercut will be used by Skelton if or when he gets inside! – Dallas is the pick on points, but dont write big Matt off just yet, he has an habit of proving the doubters wrong! – An Interesting heavyweight matchup! 

By Chris Maylett 


Tickets for Matt Skelton versus Tom Dallas on March 3, on the undercard of Jamie McDonnell versus Ivan Pozo, can be purchased from www.frankmaloney.com